Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fatigue decreases your skill levels

I suppose this one is pretty obvious - when you are tired your skill levels decrease. The study here is related to football.

A conclusion - applicable to lots of sports - is that without sufficient conditioning, all the skill in the world will not help you perform and win. You can have great skills (boxing, rugby or whatever) , but if your fitness is such that these skills are eroded through tiredness, the fitter but possibly less skilled team will win.

Effect of Match-Related Fatigue on Short-Passing Ability in Young Soccer Players.

Purpose: To examine whether the fatigue accumulated during match play or determined by short bouts of high-intensity intermittent activities affect short-passing ability in junior soccer players. A further aim was to examine the influence of physical fitness as measured using the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (YYIRT) on the changes in short-passing ability after a 5-min simulation of high-intensity activities (HIS).

Methods: Sixteen players (mean +/- SD: age 17.6 +/- 0.5 yr, height 174 +/- 7 cm, body mass 68 +/- 6 kg) participated in the study. A quasi-experimental control-period design was used for the study. Short-passing ability was measured using the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT). Players completed the LSPT in two sessions during the 1-wk control period, followed by two unofficial matches during which the LSPT was performed during and after the first and the second halves of the game. Furthermore, the change in LSPT performance was determined after 5 min of HIS.

Results: A decline in LSPT performance was found during and after the game (P < 0.01). The accuracy of the LSPT decreased after the HIS. A significant correlation was found between the YYIRT scores and the decline in LSPT performance (accuracy, total time, total time with penalties) after HIS (r = -0.51 to -0.65; P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This study showed that the fatigue developed during a match and after relatively short bouts of high-intensity intermittent activities has a detrimental effect on short-passing ability, and that the fatigue-related decline in technical proficiency for a given intensity is associated with the fitness level of the players.


Charles R. said...

When I've coached both amateur and professional athletes, I've always emphasized that it's not the one with the best skills at the beginning, but the one who can still perform at the end of points, the end of sets, the end of games and the end of seasons. Great physical conditioning, and the development of Will that goes along with it, can often match greater skills. Winning is all about heart. And a strong heart with mediocre skills can push a weak heart with much better skills. And "heart" in this context is both metaphorical and physical.

AlanL said...

I used to play squash with a friend of mine who had played at county level in his youth, whereas I was an unskilled amateur hacker. At the time, though, I was much fitter. The rare games I ever won always came at the end of a session.

Rannoch Donald RKC said...

Great Stuff Chris. I know the finding do seem obvious but it interest me from a martial arts / SD perspective.

There is a strong trend towards purely technique based defense systems. And rightly so, a self defense system should allow an individual to act effectively and quickly with a minimum of training.

All that said, take two idividuals of equal compentency and but different conditioning levels. Who would you pick to win?

"Fatigue makes cowards of us all"


All that said

Bob said...

From a coaching perspective I think this points to the importance of tiring the athletes during practice, rather than separating the conditioning from the practice as is fairly common. I've found in training tennis players that I get the best transfer when I work on skills at an intensity comparable to or higher than match intensities. I don't suppose that's a shock.

Too often, though, when it comes to a skill like the tennis serve, the practice is almost exclusively done in isolation. The player rarely has a pulse rate over 100 during a serve practice session. What I prefer to do is have the player hit from 2-4 serves, then do some sort of exercise (varying the duration and intensity), then hit 2-4 more serves, etc for about 15 minutes. This seems to transfer much better to match serving than simply standing and hitting buckets of serves. This research indicates why. The tired player is different from the not-tired player. You must train the tired player.

A nice by-product of this sort of training is that the players get in better shape, too. They don't get tired as easily in matches. Plus, the intermittent nature of the training trains the recovery phase. Very important in a sport like tennis.

Chris said...

There are some great comments there - thanks guys